Saturday, August 13, 2005
And, obsessed with TV crossovers as I am, I began to think about all the Frisco characters from other shows that could be incorporated into an episode now and again in order to expand the TV Universe.
By that next commercial break, I had come up with the following list:
Ed Brown (Don Galloway)
Mark Sanger (Don Mitchell)
Eve Whitfield (Barbara Anderson)
Fran Belding (Elizabeth Bauer)
'MACMILLAN & WIFE'
Sally MacMillan (Susan St. James)
Charlie Enright (John Schuck)
'THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO'
Mike Stone (Karl Malden)
Dan Robbins (Richard Hatch)
[Not that Michael Douglas would ever be available to return, but his character of Steve Keller had been murdered in a reunion movie. And I would suggest the producers don't waste much time if they're mulling over the idea to cast Malden as a guest star.]
Amy Prentiss (Jessica Walter)
Christine Cromwell (Jaclyn Smith)
Jack Killian (Gary Cole)
Billy Po (Dennis Dun)
[This might cause a problem, as Cole already appeared in an episode as the publisher of a men's magazine. For TV Universe fanatics like myself, it might raise questions as to why Monk doesn't recognize Jack Killian as the doppelganger for a murderer.]
A quick visit to the fantastic "TV ACRES" website (the link can be found to the left) yielded more possibilities:
[I'd love to see Tony Shalhoub play off the Scottish madness of Billy Connelly!]
'Black Tie Affair'
[Aaaah! How could I have forgotten that one? Probably because I would find it hard to accept the concept of magic in the world of 'Monk', even though I know it does exist. It's just that the TV populace at large shouldn't be aware of it......]
'Crazy Like a Fox'
[But as is the case with Karl Malden, the producers should hurry if they want to avail themselves of the talents of Jack Warden.]
'Dharma & Greg'
[I would not be surprised if Natalie knew Dharma back in school.]
'The Doris Day Show'
[Her DVD box set was just recently released, not that it will probably rise to the fore in the public's consciousness. But an appearance might make for a nice swan song should Ms. Day like one last chance to appear before the cameras.]
'Fitz & Bones'
'Freebie & the Bean'
'Good Time Harry'
'Half and Half'
[Well, at least a few of the supporting cast could appear, sadly.....] 'Hotel'
'The John Forsythe Show'
'Kindred: The Embraced'
And just over the bridge in Oakland:
'Hangin' With Mr. Cooper'
And the easiest of all connections to make would make for an excellent in-joke, which I hope they some day consider. (Shout out to Lee Goldberg re: the novels, at least!)
Use the Hotel Carlton as a location for an episode. That way there is an historical connection to Richard Boone's series 'Have Gun Will Travel'. Paladin used the Hotel Carlton as his base of operations, and the 1906 high-stakes poker game which featured Bat Masterson, Bart Maverick, and 'The Gambler' Brady Hawkes was held at the Carlton. ("Gambler 4: Luck Of The Draw")
Just sayin', is all.....
First off, there are the returning shows:
'The Dead Zone'
And there were two series I discovered only in the rerun season:
Based on the amount of time I can afford to spare for viewing, it's amazing how many new shows (and none of that "reality" crap!) have laid claim to that time!
'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia'
'The Inside' (Sadly, it didn't get the network support so I'm hoping a DVD will soon be forthcoming so that I might see the remaining episodes.)
There are other shows with which I've not been able to keep pace:
'Stargate SG-1' and 'Stargate: Atlantis'
But hopefully I can catch up with the help of DVDs.
I wanted to like 'The Comeback' on HBO, but I found it too cringe-worthy. Still, I do keep up-to-date on it, thanks to its episode guide. There are too many opportunities for links made possible by appearances from the League of Themselves.
(There is one series, however, that put me right off; and there's not much chance I'll return for any more visits - 'Starved'. Ugh.)
I have to admit I was kind of shocked to see how many shows came from the Empire Murdoch. When did I get so FX'd up?
Hopefully the Suits at the FOX networks won't notice how popular these shows are or they'll all end up suffering the same fate as 'The Inside'. (And my conspiracy-obsessed mind thinks that its cancellation was a bone thrown to TV critics everywhere... so they could use "The Inside Out" as a headline.)
FOX suits are notorious for "dillerization" - cancelling the good shows, like 'Alien Nation' and 'Family Guy'. So watch 'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia' before FOX rains on their parade.
Friday, August 12, 2005
In a minute there is time for decisions and revisions
Which a minute will reverse."
T. S. Eliot
'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufock'
'Doctor Who' is back on Earth!
Fifteen years after the last regular episode, six years after the one TV movie for the Eighth Doctor, we've had a full series of thirteen episodes featuring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Incarnation.
The final episode for this year has aired, signaling the end of Eccleston's tenure and marking the debut of David Tennant in the role.
And so to celebrate, most of my essays and all of the Crossovers will be dedicated to the Doctor for the rest of the summer.
Be forewarned: In my essays during this summer salute to 'Doctor Who', there will be spoilers for each of the episodes, especially in regard to summaries.....
This week we're not looking so much for a crossover between the 'Doctor Who' episode "Father's Day" and any other show. We feel the need to splain away the effect this episode has on the "rules" of time travel in relation to other series dealing with the subject.
First off, let's deal with the usual basics of the plot for "Father's Day"......
Here's a recap of the episode:
Location: London, Earth
Date: November 7, 1987
Enemy: The Reapers
Rose travels back to 1987, to witness the day her father died. But when she interferes in the course of events, the monstrous Reapers are unleashed upon the world, and a wedding day turns into a massacre. Even the Doctor is powerless, as the human race is devoured.
Rose’s father, Peter Alan Tyler, was born on 15 September 1954 and died on 7 November 1987, the day that Stuart Hoskins and Sarah Clark were married. When Rose was a child, her mother used to tell her stories about her wonderful dad and how much he would have loved to see her grow up. And now that she’s travelling with the Doctor, she has the opportunity to see her father while he was still alive. The Doctor agrees to take her back in Time -- but warns her to be careful what she wishes for...
"People often find it easier to be a result of the past
Than a cause of the future."
Although unnamed in the episode itself, the creatures who fed on the "wound" in Time were known as Reapers. They are not to be confused with a similar species found in the 'Doctor Who' mythos known as chronovores.
Which is a far better name.
Because Rose interfered in the timeline of 1987 by preventing the death of her father, History itself would now be thrown out of whack. (As the Doctor explained, a man was now walking the Earth who shouldn't be. And it didn't matter that Pete Tyler was an ordinary man of little import - History turns on such men.)
Upon first viewing, the episode is gang-busters, but as often happens - especially now in the age of personal recording devices - questions arise with repeated viewings. And that's true especially with this episode, as it should have an impact on all of Toobworld.
It should... but I think we have a way to splain our way out of it.
Rose interfered with History by causing her father to remain alive on the day he should have died. The same could be said for the episode "The Unquiet Dead" which took place in 1869. But as Rose herself pointed out, she knew enough about History to know that zombies weren't walking the streets of Cardiff during the Victorian Age. So Rose wasn't changing History by helping the Doctor and Charles Dickens in defeating the Gelth; they instead prevented the Gelth from altering History. (And actually it was the serving girl Gwyneth who saved Mankind. And as she was a part of that time, History was never in any danger.)
But the death of Rose's father was not only established in History, it was part of Rose's personal history. Changing that history so drastically is what caused the Reapers to attack.
This is where Milton Berle, as the personification of "Mr. Television", should manifest himself and protest in the name of all Toobworld.
If Rose's actions caused the appearance of the Reapers, then the Reapers by rights should have made their presence known in many of the shows that dealt with time travel. Because many of the characters in those shows changed History as well.
And there are plenty of those time travel shows:
'The Time Tunnel'
'The Twilight Zone' (certain episodes)
'AJ's Time Travelers'
the 'Star Trek' franchise
And that's just a Top Ten list off the top of me noggin!
First off, we can cross 'The Time Tunnel' off the list. They may have had the capability to travel throughout Time (and that they blundered badly), but Tony and Doug never amounted to a hill of chrono-beans when it came to altering History, the losers.
But as for all of the other time travelers, most of them changed History whenever they made the leap back. So how come none of them ever had to fear the Reapers?
Let's remove two more from that list - 'Voyagers!' and 'Timecop'. In both shows, the protagonists traveled back in Time to correct serious deviations from established History. But even so, shouldn't the Reapers have been munching on those wounds in Time until they were repaired?
I think the answer lies in the fact that all of those time trippers were using Terran technology. Just look at those schmucks stuck in 'The Time Tunnel' - unlike many of the other devices which were built independently by geniuses, the Time Tunnel was funded, built, and maintained by the military-industrial complex of the government.
No wonder it didn't work. These were the same screw-ups who would give Zachary Smith the security clearance to sneak on board the Jupiter II a few decades later!
That technology was not always Terran-originated though - the Operation Backstep equipment in '7 Days' was adapted from the remains found at the alien crash site in Roswell, New Mexico.
But even so, that alien technology didn't stir up the Reapers, so either it was only based on the Roswell schematics but built in the USA, ram-tough and like a rock... or it's just that it didn't originally come from the planet Gallifrey. (But we'd have to check with Michael, Isabel, and Max to verify that.)
Even if he was using Gallifreyan technology in the 'Quantum Leap' project, Dr. Sam Beckett would never have been detected by the Reapers, as he was changing history from within the auras of those people he was replacing.
And there was one time-hopper who passed through 'The Twilight Zone' named Peter Corrigan. He didn't need any of that "fancy technology" either in order to go "Back There" to the time of Lincoln's assassination. His experience was sparked by some sort of mystical method of mumbo-jumbo reminiscent of the self-hypnosis used in Jack Finney's book "Time & Again".
Compare all of them to Rose Tyler, who changed History thanks to the TARDIS, a time machine from Gallifrey - and that's the "scent" which the Reapers targeted.
It's my belief that the Reapers, like the Time Lords, were native to the planet Gallifrey. Because of the planet's unique position in the cosmic juncture between Time and Space, the Reapers must have evolved with their temporal abilities as part of their DNA. More than likely, all forms of Life which evolved on Gallifrey have some kind of temporal talent. There's probably a type of Galifreyan meta-carrot that can foretell the future.
The Reapers would be akin to the big cats on Earth, perhaps even more similar to sharks - chronological predators. As such, they would be no more than animals and not a higher form of Life.
Thus they would not have been affected by the great Time War as described by the Gelth. But their home planet was destroyed, as we learned from the Doctor. The Reapers must have had a genetic ability to traverse sub-space between dimensions; like salmon spawning upstream. And that's where they live...when not chowing down on chronological wounds.
So in splainin away the discrepancy caused as an episode of 'Doctor Who', perhaps I got something of a crossover anyway - all the other Time Travel shows united by their lack of Gallifreyan gadgets.
Not one line!"
The First Doctor
'Doctor Who' - "The Aztecs"
Thursday, August 11, 2005
This time Mayor Mike will appear on a soap opera. Talk show host Erica Kane will be interviewing him in Gracie Mansion on 'All My Children'. Bloomberg said his role wasn't scripted; he played himself and talked about the city and its growing film industry.
But to gain access to the Hall of Fame, Bloomie will need an appearance on a third TV show to meet the requirements for induction.
May I suggest 'Sesame Street'? Mike Bloomberg already looks kind of like a Muppet.
And he's almost as tall as one.......
NEW YORK -- A fan jumped from the upper deck during the eighth inning of Tuesday night's White Sox-Yankees game in the Bronx, delaying the game for four minutes.
The fan, 18-year-old Scott Harper, climbed up the net on his own power after spending several minutes sitting with a dazed look on his face. After reaching the stands, he was led away by stadium security before being taken from the ballpark on a gurney.
According to police, Harper was at the game with three friends, and the four had been discussing whether the protective netting would support Harper's weight. In the bottom of the eighth inning, with the Yankees trying to mount a late rally, Harper jumped over the railing on the upper deck, landing on the netting behind home plate.
"I’ll tell you exactly what he said. He goes, ‘Bro, I don’t know, bro, should I do it?'" his friend Mike Spadafino said. “He likes to get attention.”
Principal owner George Steinbrenner seemed angry as he left the Stadium, but at the Yankees and Torre, not at the fan. “That was the only exciting thing that happened today,” he grumbled. (The Yankees lost to the White Sox.)
(from the New York Daily News, MLB.com, and the AP)
It was rumoured that Harper did it so that he would make the highlight film on ESPN. He probably got his wish. He must have shown up on the news broadcasts for TV stations all around the tri-state area, if not the country at large.
If he gets convicted and has to pay a fine, a few talk show appearances will probably pay that off. And he's probably got some low-level version of Ari on 'Entourage' trying to weasel his way into becoming his agent so that he could market himself further for financial gain.
If I knew a warlock, like Uncle Arthur from 'Bewitched', I'd ask him to put a curse on the kid to teach him a lesson. If he wants to be Toob-worthy, then he should go whole hog - no matter where he stepped, Scott Harper should land on a rake which would then whack him in the crotch, just like on 'America's Funniest Home Videos'.
And then some futuristic show should turn his name into a slang term for a real jerk, in much the same way "Herbert" meant that somebody was a stuffed-shirt member of the Establishment on the original 'Star Trek'. I could see Ben Browder as his new character of Cam on 'Stargate SG-1' calling some idiotic alien a stupid Scott-Harper; that a reckless gate-jumper pulled off a dumb move, a real scott-harper.
Otherwise, you're going to have others doing the same stupid stunt or something else even worse that will get them killed. If people want to make their tele-version presence known in Toobworld, then they should go about it like everybody else - debase themselves in a sad attempt for the attention on a "reality" show.
Remember that episode of 'Saturday Night Live' which was hosted by Dolly Parton? At one point, she regaled the cast with the stories her Mama done tol' her, which they realized were nothing more than retellings of old TV show plots.
She must have been quite a woman!
Well, you don't have to patronize me, Phil.
Years later, I found the episode "Lamb To The Slaughter" on a video collection of 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' and was pleased to give Mom the chance to see it, as she had never seen it either. For her, it was also a story told by someone who had watched the show.
Of course, such a plot line wouldn't hold up in today's TV world, not with all those forensic specialists roaming round the dial. ("I say! What's this behind his ear, Holmes?" "I believe it to be mint jelly, Inspector.")
But as a story spun by one's Mom, and fermented in my own imagination, it made for one hell of a tale.
And when viewed with its own time period in mind, I think the episode holds its own as one of the unofficial 8 million stories from 'The Naked City'. In fact, I'll have to watch it again now just to see if the police precinct is named; the detectives (and the murder victim) could have easily been assigned to the 2-7 of the 'Law & Order' patch of the TV Universe.
It seems appropriate that this macabre "I Remember Mama" moment should come to mind. Aside from the imaginative way in which the wife dispatches her husband (as well as the evidence), the episode is notable for the performance of Barbara Bel Geddes as Mary Maloney.
Bel Geddes passed away the other day at the age of 82, yet another victim this week of lung cancer. I would put forward the claim that her performance in that episode of 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' will stand as one of the top five highlights of her career.
In the world of the "Theatuh", she originated the role of Maggie the Cat in 1955 on Broadway in "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof".
In the movies, she played Jimmy Stewart's patient and plain girl-friend in "Vertigo". And she received an Academy Award nomination for her performance in the movie version of "I Remember Mama".
But it was when she assumed a maternal role in Toobworld that she gained her greatest acclaim. If, as Miles Drentell once said on 'thirtySOMETHING', we are a nation of amnesiacs, the impact of Ms. Bel Geddes performance as Miss Ellie, the matriarch of the Ewing clan on 'Dallas', was made even stronger by the fact that she had been out of the public eye for so long before she took on the role.
And she did have quite an impact as Miss Ellie. When she was sidelined by a heart attack for nine months, the legendary Donna Reed stepped into the role.... and was not accorded the most convivial of receptions from fans who wanted the one, true Miss Ellie back.
Ms. Bel Geddes also won the Emmy for playing the role in 1980, and she remains the only actor from a night-time soap opera to ever be given such an honor.
And so, with the passing of Barbara Bel Geddes, we at Toobworld Central tip our Toob Top Hat to her memory as we remember the Ewing Mama.
Here are a list of her TV Universe credits, as compiled by IMDb.com:
"Dallas" (1978) TV Series .... Eleanor 'Miss Ellie' Southworth Ewing Farlow #1 (1978-1984, 1985-1990)
TV GUEST APPEARANCES
"Spencer's Pilots" playing "Maggie" in episode: "The Search" 29 October 1976
"Journey to the Unknown" playing "Inga Madison" in episode: "The Madison Equation" (episode # 1.7) 2 June 1969
"Daniel Boone" playing "Molly Malone" in episode: "Sweet Molly Malone" (episode # 5.25) 17 April 1969
"Dr. Kildare" playing "Dr. Ruth Halliman" in episode: "A Miracle for Margaret" (episode # 4.22) 25 February 1965
"Death Valley Days" in episode: "The Vintage Years" (episode # 11.11) 19 December 1962
"Alfred Hitchcock Presents" playing "Sybilla Meade" in episode: "Sybilla" (episode # 6.10) 6 December 1960
"Riverboat" playing "Missy" in episode: "Payment in Full" (episode # 1.1) 13 September 1959
"Alfred Hitchcock Presents" playing "Helen Brewster" in episode: "The Morning of the Bride" (episode # 4.19) 15 February 1959
"The DuPont Show of the Month" in episode: "The Hasty Heart" (episode # 2.4) 18 December 1958
"The United States Steel Hour" playing "Lily Barton" in episode: "Mid-Summer" (episode # 6.3) 8 October 1958
"Playhouse 90" playing "Sidney Cantrell" in episode: "Rumors of Evening" (episode # 2.32) 1 May 1958
"Studio One" playing "Letty Greene" in episode: "The Desperate Age" (episode # 10.28) 21 April 1958
"Alfred Hitchcock Presents" playing "Mary Maloney" in episode: "Lamb to the Slaughter" (episode # 3.28) 13 April 1958
"Alfred Hitchcock Presents" playing "Lucia Clay" in episode: "The Foghorn" (episode # 3.24) 16 March 1958
"Schlitz Playhouse of Stars" in episode: "French Provincial" (episode # 7.14) 13 December 1957
"Studio One" playing "Charlotte Lamb" in episode: "The Morning After" (episode # 10.5) 7 October 1957
"Schlitz Playhouse of Stars" in episode: "Fifty Beautiful Girls" (episode # 6.33) 21 June 1957
"On Trial" in episode: "The Gentle Voice of Murder" (episode # 1.27) 24 May 1957
"Toast of the Town" playing "Herself" (episode # 10.8) 11 November 1956
"Campbell Playhouse" in episode: "XXXXX Isn't Everything" (episode # 2.26) 9 April 1954
"Nash Airflyte Theatre" in episode: "Molly Morgan" (episode # 1.14) 21 December 1950
"Pulitzer Prize Playhouse" in episode: "Bethel Merriday" (episode # 1.11) 15 December 1950
"Robert Montgomery Presents" in episode: "The Philadelphia Story" (episode # 2.7) 4 December 1950
"Robert Montgomery Presents" in episode: "Rebecca" (episode # 1.9) 22 May 1950
Our Town (1977) (TV) .... Mrs. Webb
Tuesday, August 9, 2005
(No, Max and 99 are already inducted, so don't take the two references in that paragraph as a clue!)
As I previously stated, this year I'm celebrating the milestone (millstone?) of my 50th birthday by inducting those who might not ordinarily have made it in on their own accord without my use of pretzel logic. And our candidate for August is no exception.
Keeping to the tradition of using the summer months to induct characters from Westerns, I have also decided this year's roster needed more petticoats than pistols. And so I'm tipping my hat to a lady - Samantha Crawford.
Samantha was a card sharp, a confidence trickster with whom Bret Maverick had a love/hate relationship. As played by Diane Brewster, she made several appearances in the series over the years.
And despite the protests of the show's creator Roy Huggins, I believe she also appeared in the episode "Dark Rider" on the TV series 'Cheyenne'. Same name, same actress, same good little bad girl quality to her character. In that show, Samantha tried to fleece a cattle drive of their money, but still was able to make off with Cheyenne Bodie's money at least by the end of the episode.
But even though Roy Huggins once made that suggestion in a 1959 issue of TV Guide that both roles were one and the same, he later contradicted that sentiment.
"'Maverick' did not start with Samantha, even if I said that in TV Guide, and "The Dark Rider" was not a forerunner of 'Maverick'."
I think his biggest complaint was that he didn't like the idea of 'Maverick' as being a spin-off from 'Cheyenne'. And because the character of Bret Maverick was such a fantastic and original creation, I don't blame him. But we don't have to think of one show being a derivative from the other in order to consider Diane Brewster's roles as being one and the same.
It would be like Mandy Patinkin's Dr. Jeffrey Geiger of 'Chicago Hope' appearing in a cameo on 'Homicide: Life On The Street'. His appearance shouldn't connote that one series was a spin-off from the other.
Toobworld is a concept that I treat like a sandbox, in which I borrow the toy soldiers from others so that I can play with them. And that's why Mr. Huggins protestations are falling on deaf ears when it comes to Samantha Crawford's appearances on 'Cheyenne' and 'Maverick'.
But that's still only two shows and it's rare when we bend the rules so much that we don't get the minimum of three series for qualification. Off hand, I can only think of one exception - Suzie MacNamara of 'Private Secretary' who was involved in the very first crossover, on 'The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour'.
So where else did Samantha Crawford appear back in the wild, wild West?
"Wagon Train" (1957) playing "Bea" in episode: "The Echo Pass Story" (episode # 8.14) 3 January 1965
"Death Valley Days" (1952) in episode: "The $25,000 Wager" (episode # 13.10) 24 December 1964
"Dakotas, The" (1963) playing "Jody" in episode: "Fargo" (episode # 1.8) 25 February 1963
"Rifleman, The" (1958) playing "Fay Owens" in episode: "Jealous Man" (episode # 4.26) 26 March 1962
"Wagon Train" (1957) playing "Lita Foladaire" in episode: "The Lita Foladaire Story" (episode # 3.14) 6 January 1960
"Bat Masterson" (1958) playing "Lynn Harrison" in episode: "The Conspiracy: Part 2" (episode # 1.32) 24 June 1959
"Bat Masterson" (1958) playing "Lynn Harrison" in episode: "The Conspiracy: Part 1" (episode # 1.31) 17 June 1959
"Wanted: Dead or Alive" (1958) playing "Amy Winter" in episode: "Double Fee" (episode # 1.29) 21 March 1959
"Frontier Doctor" (1958) in episode: "Law of the Badlands" (episode # 1.23) 28 February 1959
"Cimarron City" (1958) playing "Lisa Caldwell" in episode: "Runaway Train" (episode # 1.17) 31 January 1959
"Trackdown" (1957) in episode: "Outlaw's Wife" (episode # 2.2) 12 September 1958
"Tombstone Territory" (1957) playing "Julie Dixon" in episode: "The Lady Gambler" (episode # 1.33) 28 May 1958
"Restless Gun, The" (1957) playing "Helen Bricker" in episode: "The Whip" (episode # 1.28) 31 March 1958
"Tales of Wells Fargo" (1957) playing "Dr. Alice MacCauley" in episode: "Dr. Alice" (episode # 2.25) 23 February 1958
"Wagon Train" (1957) playing "Julie Wharton" in episode: "The Honorable Don Charlie Story" (episode # 1.19) 22 January 1958
"Zane Grey Theater" (1956) playing "Mrs. Lester" in episode: "A Man to Look Up To" (episode # 2.9) 29 November 1957
"Tales of Wells Fargo" (1957) playing "Lillian Barkley" in episode: "Rio Grande" (episode # 1.9) 3 June 1957
"Zane Grey Theater" (1956) playing "Nancy Tapper" in episode: "Time of Decision" (episode # 1.16) 18 January 1957
"Death Valley Days" (1952) in episode: "Faro Bill's Layout" (episode # 5.1) 14 September 1956
Any one of those characters could be her; maybe even all of them! Remember, Samantha Crawford was a con artiste. She could have appeared in any one of those shows as Samantha Crawford, but under an assumed alias.
I'm especially tempted by her role as Julie Dixon in that episode of 'Tombstone Territory', "The Lady Gambler". Seems like a gimmee, although I don't think the appearance of Peter Breck as Sam Dixon helps my argument much. (I doubt it was really Nick Barkley of 'The Big Valley' using an alias as well!)
Maybe 'Julie' was an alias with which she was comfortable, and so had used it earlier while traveling with Major Seth Adams on the 'Wagon Train'. Only she was then known by the last name of 'Wharton' in the episode "The Honorable Don Charlie Story".
(I'm not including any other episodes of 'Cheyenne', however, like "The Mustang Trail" from November of 1956. No matter by what name she was known, I'm fairly certain Bodie would have remembered the woman who scammed him of his money. Besides, 'Cheyenne' is already part of the equation and so doesn't count for the third entry.)
Remember the 2005 mantra: "What I say, goes."
And that's the way I want to play that hand: a big hand for a little lady.
The original requirements have become easier to achieve in recent years (appearances in three different TV shows, TV movies, cartoons or commercials). But that's mostly due to the fact that those who make the TV shows nowadays grew up watching TV and love the self-referential nature of the medium. But it has reached the point where some might argue that just about anybody can get into the Hall of Fame.
And this year, that's just about true....
In 2005, I reach the half century mark; in just a few days, in fact. Like fellow bloggers Brent McKee and Tony Figueroa, I am a child of Television. And every year on my birthday, I celebrate in my blog (or the old Tubeworld Dynamic website before this) by announcing a Birthday Honors List; inducting someone special into the ranks of the Hall of Fame who might have just missed the requirements but who is nonetheless deserving of recognition for their contributions to the TV Universe.
My mantra for the choices made on my birthday is: "What I say, goes."
The first such honoree was Suzy MacNamara, Ann Sothern's character in 'Private Secretary'. She was honored because she was involved in the first TV crossover, on the premiere episode of 'The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour'.
This year, as I turn fifty, I'm applying that dictum of "What I Say, Goes" every month. Let's run down those who have been inducted so far this year:
JANUARY - Lt. Columbo
FEBRUARY - Barney Collier aka Mr. Peters
MARCH - John Drake/Number "6"
APRIL - Ted Baxter
MAY - Detective Kay "Katy" Howard
JUNE - Arnold Ziffel
JULY - Hec Ramsey aka Paladin
I've been running the TV Crossover Hall of Fame since 1999, and one day I will devote the time necessary to create a permanent home for it on the web.
If you're interested in seeing the full list (There are over 100 members so far!), then drop me a note at:
Archerd, 83, said he will "still be fully employed" and expects to continue covering major events. He also plans to keep covering the Oscars and to work on his memoirs. "I just won't have the pressure of deadlines," he said.
Archerd's column had been required reading for producers, agents, actors, directors, publicists and others in the film and television industries.
And he has been a great source of connections within the TV Universe thanks to his lengthy membership in the "League of Themselves", those celebrities who appear as themselves in fictional TV productions.
Here's a list of Archerd's appearances in which he played himself. (He had quite a few other series in which he played actual characters, such as the White House Press Secretary in an episode of 'Amos Burke, Secret Agent', but we're mostly interested in seeing the credit "Army Archerd as Himself".)
"77 Sunset Strip" playing "Himself" in episode: "Six Superior Skirts" (episode # 2.3) 16 October 1959
"Burke's Law" playing "Himself" in episode: "Who Killed Marty Kelso?" (episode # 1.22) 28 February 1964
"Burke's Law" playing "Himself" in episode: "Who Killed the Richest Man in the World?" (episode # 2.9) 11 November 1964
"Here's Lucy" playing "Himself" in episode: "Lucy Meets the Burtons" (episode # 3.1) 14 September 1970
'Columbo': "Forgotten Lady" (1975) Himself
More Than Friends (1978) (TV) .... Himself
The Users (1978) (TV) .... Himself
The Star Maker (1981) (TV) .... Himself
"Matt Houston" playing "Himself" in episode: "Who Would Kill Ramona?" (episode # 1.6) 31 October 1982
"Hotel" playing "Himself" in episode: "Choices" (episode # 1.2) 5 October 1983
The Ratings Game (1984) (TV) .... Himself
"Burke's Law" playing "Himself" in episode: "Who Killed the Soap Star?" (episode # 1.7) 11 March 1994
"Murphy Brown" playing "Himself" in episode: "Dick and Dottie" (episode # 8.11) 27 November 1995
"Ellen" playing "Himself" in episode: "Emma" (episode # 5.8) 19 November 1997
"Diagnosis Murder" playing "Himself" in episode: "Talked to Death" (episode # 5.18) 26 February 1998
What a fantastic collection of crossovers!
Game shows, news programs, and documentaries can be included in the mix, but there's not much sport in using them for links. Archerd hardly needs such programs to qualify for eventual inclusion in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, but there are two I'd like to point out.
One is a game show:
"The Movie Game" (1969) TV Series .... Himself/Assistant
And the other was a series that utilized home movies to show Hollywood stars at play:
"Guest Shot" (1962) TV Series .... Himself
There are also a few shows in which he went unnamed. But because he was appearing as either a reporter or a TV commentator, then I feel it's safe to assume he was appearing as himself in his chosen profession.
"Burke's Law" playing "1st Reporter" in episode: "Who Killed Wimbledon Hastings?" (episode # 2.20) 3 February 1965
"Honey West" playing "Announcer" in episode: "Come to Me, My Litigation Baby" (episode # 1.23) 18 February 1966
"Adam-12" playing "Reporter" in episode: "Foothill Division: Mac's Boots" (episode # 6.3) 26 September 1973
Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls (1981) (TV) .... TV Commentator
And then there was a character he played in the wild, wild West:
"The Big Valley" playing "Bank Clerk" in episode: "A Time to Kill" (episode # 1.18) 19 January 1966
"The Big Valley" playing "Stage Depot Clerk" in episode: "Devil's Masquerade" (episode # 3.24) 4 March 1968
It's my thinking that both clerks were one and the same man. In the space of two years, either he had taken on a new job or he was moonlighting at the stage depot. And I'm thinking it's possible that this clerk from Stockton, California, might have been an ancestor for the tele-version of Army Archerd.
Of course, in the episode "A Time To Kill", it doesn't sound very promising for a bank clerk to live another two years.....
Army Archerd says he's not retiring, just that he won't be held to any more deadlines. So here's hoping that he can still continue to make appearances in Toobworld as himself and thus link even more shows through his presence. Show business series in which he still might make a difference include 'Entourage' and 'The Comeback', both on HBO. (It's a shame he never got the chance to appear on 'I'm With Her'; that show could have used such a link.)
'Dragnet' - "The LSD Story" & "The Big High". The first episode had the classic character of Blue Boy: "There I am! I'm over there!"
'Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In' - Dick Martin told EW that the pilot episode contained seven pot jokes, but the network censors ''didn't get one of them.''
"Go Ask Alice" (1973) This movie-of-the-week was adapted from a best-selling novel about a teenage girl who experiments with various drugs, becomes a prostitute, and dies. With William Shatner, Andy Griffith, and Mackenzie Phillips.
'Good Times' - "J.J.'s Fiancée'' J.J. learned that she was a heroin addict in desperate need of a fix.
"Angel Dusted" (1981) A made-for-TV movie that was later edited down into an Afterschool Special, Helen Hunt jumps through a plate-glass second-story window, then shouts, ''It doesn't hurt!'' When she hosted 'Saturday Night Live' many years later, they showed this scene during her monologue for big laughs.
'Diff'rent Strokes' - "The Reporter" This was the start of the "very special episode" fad in sitcoms, and First Lady Nancy Reagan showed up.
Family Ties - ''Speed Trap'' Alex Keaton is trying to keep up with his school work, so he persuades Mallory to score diet pills for him.
Partnership for a Drug-Free America ad (1987) ''This is your brain'' says the voice-over and then an egg is cracked into a skillet, where it sizzles. ''This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?''
'That '70s Show' - Just about every episode!
'Six Feet Under' - ''You Never Know,'' Ruth and Bettina help Ruth's sister, Sarah kick Vicodin.
Readers wrote in to the EW.com website and complained about some noteworthy shows that were missing, including "brownie" episodes for 'Barney Miller' and 'Sanford & Son' and the classic PSA in which the kid yells at his Dad, "From you! I learned it from you!"
I've got one to add to the list as well. The episode of 'Dream On' in which Martin found his son Jeremy's hidden joint and then proceeded to smoke it with his buddy Eddie - after giving Jeremy a stern lecture about the perils of drugs. (The best bit was their attempt to order Chinese food, and then they couldn't figure out how they got so many orders of Beef with Broccoli.)
"You can see my name, if you look hard enough."
Monday, August 8, 2005
But I have seen his work on several TV documentaries and specials, including "The Search For Jesus" and "The Century". Also I tuned in throughout the day and marveled as he maintained a marathon of 26 hours while anchoring ABC's coverage of the approaching "Millennium" on December 31st, 1999. (Technically, it was to happen the following year, but that chronological odometer rollover was hard to resist.)
The last time I saw him was in February of this year when he appeared on 'The Daily Show' as that night's guest with Jon Stewart. He was a conversationalist at ease with those surroundings and gave the impression that he would have been comfortable no matter the situation in which he found himself on the other side of an interview.
Desite that air of urbanity which he could project, Peter Jennings wasn't the stuffed shirt that epitomized the anchorman image put forward by such characters as Ted Baxter.
He was one of the trio of news anchors from that second generation of network anchormen; Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather being the others who once held sway over the nation's view of the news. And we won't see their like again, not in these days of 24 hour cable news networks.
I see Peter Jennings as being a combination of the best qualities reminiscent of Edward R. Murrow and Alistair Cooke - he loved doing the reporting himself on a global scale and he brought a bemused attitude as something of an outsider looking in on the stories from the United States.
I'm afraid my poor words aren't doing Mr. Jennings justice now that he has passed on. But for a more comprehensive look at his career, with quotes and reminiscences and photos illustrating his career, visit the TVNewser website:
A fellow named Brian has posted several excellent entries to this blog about Peter Jennings over the last few days.